Top 10 Feel-Good Foods to Blitz a Bad Mood

The other day I was whc-styled-stock-photography-2016-april-feeling-zen-20-finalorking from home, with absolutely nothing to stress about, but for some reason I felt this nervous, uncomfortable energy.

I had a yoga class booked for lunchtime and I was filled with anxiety about going. Which is ridiculous! Anxiety about attending a YOGA class? Ahhh, the irony.

We all have wobbles from time to time; days when we just feel overwhelmed, stressed or inexplicably anxious. Once upon a time I wrote a book about wedding planning – and naturally there was a huge section on staying calm before the wedding because BRIDEZILLAISM is real and can happen to the best of us (ahem!). Whilst undertaking the research for that book, here’s what I learned about foods that can really alter your mood – it’s fascinating and useful stuff.

I took my own advice and nommed on some dark chocolate before class – hey, the science says I did the right thing.

Eat up!

Pep ❤

🍴 Top 10 Feel-Good Foods to Blitz a Bad Mood

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15 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Stuck / Lethargic / Unmotivated / Just MEH.

Whether it’s the short, dark days, a break up, a stressful time at work – or sometimes it’s just because – we all get stuck in a lethargic rut from time to time. Here are some of my tried and tested happiness boosters for this inevitable time.

doggy.jpg(Unfortunately you won’t find eating a tub of ice cream or getting wasted at the pub on this list. While I do think there is a time and a place for these things – especially if you’re doing it with your BFFs! – generally you won’t wake up the next morning feeling ready to take on the world again – which is the goal here.) Onwards and upwards… Continue reading

Sisters & Happiness

Today I had lunch with two sisters. One is a (my) yoga teacher, one a doctor, they were born 22 months apart. What a special honour! It reminded me that there is an energy and spirit between sisters that can’t be matched.

I ADORE my relationship with my younger sister. I love our conversation; the details of our daily lives, thoughts, emotions and relationships – often seemingly pointless to an outsider but so incrediblsisters-cactusy important to us.

I love our dynamic; no judgement whatsoever, even when one of us is acting good-crazy or bad-crazy.

I love our memories; our childhood habits & idiosyncrasies, our family holidays, our first-everythings.

I love our honesty; we’d both no doubt look and act like a hot mess without the tough love we direct at one another to course-correct bad decisions and cheer on the good ones.

I love that we share the same parents. That sounds dumb in writing, but who else can understand the intricacies of the most important relationships of our lives?

There was a study released several years ago that says sisters make you happier, more optimistic and “better at coping with life’s problems”. The theory is that the open communication sisters have is good for our emotional health.

Side note: after living with my sister for 3 months this summer I had to be careful when socialising with other people – we’d spent so much time together speaking SO openly and intimately that I became used to that level of conversation. Most inappropriate in the majority of social situations 🙂

I love you sis! There’s no one I’d rather share my chocolate cake with…

sisters-chocolate-cake-happy

Pep ❤

A Sense of Perspective Can Fix Just About Anything

One deranged gunman, 50 beautiful lives cut short in a few short minutes. A sense of perspective.

Ugandan children abandoned by their birth mothers yet still singing and dancing because love and generosity defies biology. A sense of perspective.

Hundreds of migrants still making the dangerous crossing everyday, not knowing what lies on the other side but firmly believing that ANYTHING is better than this. A sense of perspective.

THERE IS ENOUGH TO GO ROUND.

A less than perfect house: A sense of perspective. (You have a safe, warm roof over your head.)

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9 Things I Learned About Happiness from Living in Japan

japanFrom 2006 – 2010 I lived and worked in Japan; 2 years in the remote countryside and 20 months in the busy metropolis of Tokyo. The two places and experiences were so vastly different that they felt almost like living in two countries, but in both situations I observed and absorbed a lot about what can contribute to daily happiness.

This is not to say that the Japanese are a particularly happy nation; according to the 2016 World Happiness Report published by the UN each year, Japan ranks 53rd in terms of happiness sentiment amongst its population. This is quite a bit lower than the UK (23rd), Canada (6th) and the US (13th).

I can see why Japan ranks so averagely. It’s true that just observing many sectors of the population leaves you a little depressed: the middle aged man who works stressful, high pressure 16 hour days and never sees his family, the teenager who is too shy to leave his room, the woman who married too young and not for love and who was forced to give up all her hopes and dreams to attend to the house and kids. These are stereotypes, yes, but all characters I encountered frequently during my time there.

At the other end of the scale are some of the happiest, most at peace and self-aware people I’ve ever met. Many parts of the culture are just set up and designed to make you feel content. Japan is also the place where I figured out a lot about what made me happy (and quite a bit about what didn’t – perhaps I’ll save that for another time!), so without further ado, here’s my personal list of what Japan taught me about happiness.

ise-udon-696853_6401. A Passion & Gratitude for Food: No deprivation, no guilt, just real food and smaller portions. Japan has a phenomenal food scene. Despite the abundance of fish on every menu, it didn’t matter that I was a vegetarian; I still really, really enjoyed the food. It was seasonal, fresh and appreciated. When you grow up surrounded by rice farms, you know how precious and difficult to harvest each grain is. The same can be said for the fruit, vegetables and fish that make up the diet, and not a spoonful is wasted or thrown away. Each month there is a new fruit in the supermarkets to try, and my coworkers would often bring in boxes of fruit or vegetables sent from relatives elsewhere in the country. We’d all share the food and it was glorious. We all know that food can make us happy; eating healthily, seasonally and sharing food without guilt or counting calories only enhances this pleasure.

2. Bathing (and nakedness) is Great.  Continue reading

How to “Self Hack” Yourself to Be a Better Parent, Worker, Exerciser, HUMAN.

“Hacking” is a term used in the tech industry for writing software code that does not follow the rules of how code should be written. Sometimes it is “well-written and elegant”, and sometimes it is “pretty messy and ugly” – either way, if it should take days, weeks or months to write a project and someone manages to hack it out in a few hours by “violating the laws of code”, that’s a hack that has increased efficiency and saved time.

“Life hacking” has come to mean a similar thing, but in our day-to-day lives. It’s a trick, shortcut or other method that can increase productivity and efficiency. For example; painting your set of silver keys with different shades of nail varnish so you know which key is for which door (thus saving you time and stress), or hulling strawberries using a straw (see pic below – amazing). Continue reading